I've been reading the comments around making Zope 10 times bigger with 
interest - excellent stuff. Not sure if zope-dev is the place for this, but 
all the other 10x conversation is here.....

Some of you may know that I was pretty involved in NIP's Zope efforts a 
while ago but have since moved into another area, leaving it in the capable 
hands of Chris W and Andy D. I still have an interest in Zope both for my 
personal projects, and because I wish I could use it in my current role :-)

Anyway, looking from the semi-outside, I suspect one quick way to make Zope 
a lot more popular is to package it up in a number of installations which 
solve a particular problem. Some of us get into Zope because its neat and 
interesting technology, but most start from wanting to solve a particular 

For example:
                - "I want to run something like Slashdot"
  - "I'd like to run a simple community site for my local club"
  - "I would like to maintain a web site as painlessly as possible, with
    some useful functionality"
  - "I would like to keep a list of my MP3s and serve them out to my home
         - etc.

I would suggest if we spend some time looking at those scenarios, and 
prepared Zope distributions which got people working as quickly as 
possible, we'd see a lot of interest. Put them up on Freshmeat as their own 
projects, pointing direct to the relevant page on zope.org.

Most other Open Source solutions require a fair amount of installation of 
different components, which is a fair amount of hassle. Zope has a lot 
going for it as the basis for a package solution, as it can be completely 
self contained, and very easily integrated in with Apache if required.

Currently, if you want to do anything interesting with Zope, you have to 
install Zope and then assemble the solution for yourself from a whole bunch 
of other products. This doesn't have to happen, its just how Zope is 
currently distributed.

(I know there's some work happening on product management infrastructure, 
but not only will that take time to happen, it also doesn't solve the 
problem of the documentation etc. which should also be oriented to the 
specific problem area.)

Once someone downloads an scenario-specific version of Zope and puts it to 
use, chances are their interest will grow and they will start to use it for 
other things. But that will only happen once they've solved their initial 

I don't think preparing such distributions will be too hard. "All" it 
requires is someone to write some documentation and prepare an installation 
for Win32 and Linux (and possibly MacOS X for the discerning users). I 
don't even think we need to be too worried about keeping the distributions 
updated with the latest & greatest Zope + bits, because unless the new 
version beings something dramatically useful (or is an important security 
update) it doesn't matter.

To prepare these scenario-specific distributions, I believe we need a 
series of people who are familiar with the particular problem domain and 
are willing to build distributions, write documentation, and answer 
domain-specific questions if there are any.

I have almost done this for the Open Source ELN 
(http://www.opensourceeln.org) and will post a recipie on how to create a 
Win32 distribution in a week or so which other people can use. The 
documentation will be something like "Install this file, then go to this 
URL, join the site (it is a CMF-based thing) and enjoy. If you want to get 
into customisation, you want to mess with the templates you can see at this 
URL (the skins folder). If you want to know what is going on, read this 
document and the rest of Zope.org". Short and simple.

What do people think? Do you think scenario-specific distributions would 
have helped you get into Zope? How did you get into Zope? Would/Could you 
prepare a distribution for people sharing the same problem you started with?


--------- My opinions are my own, NIP's opinions are theirs ----------
Simon J. Coles                                 Email: [EMAIL PROTECTED]
New Information Paradigms                  Work Phone: +44 1344 753703
http://www.nipltd.com/                     Work Fax:   +44 1344 753742
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